A multiarm randomized field trial evaluating strategies for udder health improvement in Swiss dairy herds
- Journal Article
The aims of this study were to quantify the effectiveness of specialist advice about udder health in Swiss dairy herds and to compare 3 different udder health improvement strategies against a negative control group. In 2010, 100 Swiss dairy herds with a high (between 200,000 and 300,000 cells/mL) yield-corrected bulk milk somatic cell count (YCBMSCC) were recruited for a 1-yr multiarm randomized field trial. The herds were visited between September and December 2011 to evaluate udder health-management practices and then randomly allocated into 1 of 4 study arms containing 25 herds each. The negative control study arm received neither recommendations for improving udder health nor any active support. The remaining 75 farmers received a herd-specific report with recommendations to improve udder health management. The positive control study arm received no further active support during 2012. The veterinarian study arm received additional support in the form of monthly visits by their herd veterinarian. Finally, the study group study arm received support in the form of bimonthly study group meetings where different topics concerning udder health were discussed. One year later, implementation of recommendations and changes in udder health were assessed. Of the recommendations given, 44.3% were completely implemented, 23.1% partially, and 32.6% were not implemented. No differences in implementation of recommendations were noted between the 3 study arms. At study enrollment, farmers were asked for the study arm of their preference but were subsequently randomly assigned to 1 of the 4 study arms. Farmers that were assigned to the study arm of their preference implemented more recommendations than farmers assigned to a study arm not of their preference. No decrease in the within-herd prevalence of cows that had a high (≥200,000 cells/mL) composite somatic cell count was observed in herds that had a YCBMSCC ≥200,000 cells/mL at the start of intervention. However, the 3 study arms with intervention (positive control, the veterinarian, and the study groups) prevented an increase in the within-herd prevalence of cows that had a high somatic cell count in herds with a low YCBMSCC at the start of the intervention compared with the negative control study arm. In the year after sending the report, herds assigned to the study group study arm had a reduced incidence rate of treated mastitis cases in comparison with the year before sending the report. Show more
Journal / seriesJournal of Dairy Science
Pages / Article No.
Subjectmastitis; herd health management; Peer support; intervention
MoreShow all metadata